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The Netherlands Chronicles - Living on a budget

How to live in a sustainable way in The Netherlands

Living on a budget in The Netherlands: is that really possible?

Well, if you ask me, nothing is impossible. For those who don't know me well yet, I have been living in The Hague - South Holland- since 2012, and I am raising two kids alone.

This is not very easy, I have to admit and sometimes is particularly challenging.

Life can be tough and rough, but we should all be grateful for what we have when health and family are on our side.

So, stop complaining.

In 2020 I lost my employee job (which I was enjoying so much) and as well as many private clients due to this global crisis.

In 2020 I have lost more than these purely economic-based things, but I am not going to talk about it now. Let's see what I have gained in this difficult year, and how I transformed something bad into something that can work, and trying to see the bright side of everything.

Budgeting: all start from here

Do you usually work on a budget? Or you just let your money flow out of your wallet (and pin machine) without a lot of control, realizing only at the end of the month that you were going too wild?

I have been on this second option for way too long, just managing to reach the end of the month and without paying too much attention to the money I was spending.

How many times are you scared to open your mobile app and see how much you have left on your bank account?

Since I have started budgeting my resources, everything became easier and I manage to have a good and deep insight and awareness of how I spend my money. These are my tips:

  • Make a weekly planner of meals it will help with using all the resources that you have at home before buying new.

  • Check the expenses of your previous 2/3 months: you will have a deep overview of how you spent your money

  • Make a budget for the extras

  • Note down all your expenses every 2 days, to keep track of your goals.

Awareness is the key

Be Aware: every time you go outside (or you open your online shopping app) you become tempted. Be aware of your needs and your budget, it's ok to treat yourself but don't waste the resources.

Stay on your budget and ask yourself if you really need to buy that particular thing.

Buy local - bike more

Is very easy to just going to the Albert Hein and buy all your groceries in one place, or let it be delivered to your place. I love the idea of not leaving my house.

But since I have started with moving a bit more around and buying meat at the local butchery, vegetables at the market, and reaching the Lidl at 2 km from my place once a week I am saving quite a lot of money.

My budget for our family of 3 is 80-90 euro per week with groceries, and now I can keep this budget (or even a bit less sometimes).

I don't mind cycling a bit too far, because in return I get not only a bit of training (no gym for me please!) and more money left in my pocket.

I Love Kringloop

For those who are not familiar with it, the Kringloop are the second-hand shops. There are many everywhere, and I love strolling around when I need to buy something for the house: Christmas decorations, pots for the plants, a nice set of cups, and even toys for the kids. I can't count how much I saved by buying second-hand stuff!

Living on a budget should not be something to be ashamed of. I love it when my friends tell me " I found it at the Kringloop, 1 euro!" instead of... Do you know how much it cost? Is very expensive, not for everyone.."

We should all stop stealing from ourselves. Let's learn to live more in touch with our deep-selves, spend more time in nature, appreciate what we have, and stop the waste.

Living on a budget, stop wasting resources, stop compulsive buying, and instead, buying less and more sustainable, re-use, be aware.

With this article, I want to support the Sustainable Development Goals, promote and stimulate awareness in all of us and happier and healthier life.

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